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by Ammar Khan

With runners on first and second at the top of the first inning, Crawdad’s sophomore pitcher EJ McGrew faced Menlo Park Legends Dylan Joyce.

As the first swing connected with the ball and went towards the right side, Crawdad’s right fielder Aiden Camberg tried making a play on the ball. With Camberg falling just short, Legends outfielder Rowan Felscsh immediately ran from second base and made his way to home plate.

Up 1-0, just three batters in, the Legends bats continued to stay hot in the top of the first.

Facing a similar situation from the very last play, the Crawdads, and EJ McGrew faced runners on first and third with Caleb Herd taking the plate. 

Despite the defense cashing in on a double play with Herd’s hit, the Legends scored another run.

Unfortunately for McGrew and the Crawdads, their opponent’s hot streak continued. Just two batters after, the Legends ran up the score with two more points as Vascon Smith scored a home run with a teammate already on third.

Heading into the bottom half of the first inning, the Crawdads faced an issue that they had not dealt with on their massive win streak; coming back from a large deficit in the early portion of a game.

Despite two stolen bases and several walks, the Crawdads ended the first inning down 4-1. 

Their lone score came from a run by Casey Cummings.

Despite facing a 4-1 deficit, the Crawdads seemed poised to come back. 

After holding the Legends scoreless in the top of the second inning, the Crawdads cut the deficit by two after a Ben Royo hit went deep to center. The hit resulted in an RBI double as Nico Azpilcueta sprinted from second base to home.   

However, Murphy’s Law seemed to have had an impact on the Crawdads: What could go wrong for the Crawdads essentially happened.

In one instance in the fourth inning, what was supposed to be a double for Crawdad’s Ethan Liang, was ultimately reversed. The controversial call came after the first base umpire had determined that Liang never touched first base on his way to second.

The decision came after a lengthy discussion with all three empires and pushback from Liang.

Liang continued to plead his case but was ultimately turned down by the third base umpire after several minutes.

In another notable moment, after trying to ensure a runner on third would not get to home after a poor pitch, Crawdad’s catcher Owen Firestone appeared to have injured himself. Despite an umpire’s timeout and an appearance by a trainer, Firestone appeared to be fine and played the rest of the game.

The last notable mistake for the Crawdads was a crucial one in the bottom of the eighth inning. 

As the Legends appeared to have had a base hit, miscommunication between shortstop Ben Royo and catcher Owen Firestone essentially led to a free run for a Legends player sitting at third base.  

Had Royo decided to hold the ball, the Crawdads could have prevented the seventh and final run by the Legends.

The umpires in this game also appeared to have several eyebrow-raising moments in this matchup. 

The first moment was the controversial Ethan Liao call.

The second moment was a Crawdads hit. On a play that seemed like a routine out at first base, the umpires stopped play to have another brief discussion. 

The umpires ultimately ruled the hit as a foul ball. The call was met with pushback from the Legends bullpen.

The Crawdad’s attempt at a comeback fell short as the visiting Menlo Park Legends won with a final score of 7-3.

With the loss, the Crawdads snapped their five-game winning streak and surrendered their short-lived hold on first place in the conference. The loss drops them to 7-5 and third of the conference.

The Crawdads will hit the road and head to the Peninsula on Sunday, Jun. 23 as they are set to face the Legends once again.

The first pitch will be at 1:00 p.m. at the College of San Mateo.

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